Specsavers Narellan Optometrist Theresa Bui recently participated in a medical outreach program, with the support of her store and the local community.

The trip was organised by Youth with a Mission (YWAM) Medical Ships, a charity that offers healthcare and training to remote areas in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

From 20 April to 7 May, Theresa and a team of YWAM volunteers visited several remote PNG communities that are only accessible by boat. They administered eye screenings, examinations and referrals, and Theresa also hand-delivered recycled glasses collected in the Narellan store to people in need.

In addition to collecting the pre-loved glasses, Specsavers Narellan also donated $5 from every eye test conducted in-store in the first week of April to the charity’s medical ships.

YWAM Medical Ships Public Relations Manager Anna Scott said the professional skills Theresa brought to the program were “invaluable” as the communities they were visiting “may have never seen an optometrist in their life”.

YWAM Medical Ships offers healthcare and training to remote areas in PNG

“Delivering basic services in PNG poses enormous challenges, with 84% of the population living in remote, rural areas,” Anna explained. “We are very grateful not only to the Narellan community for donating their glasses to be recycled for the project, but also to Theresa for raising awareness on YWAM’s work in PNG.”

Theresa said, “Having worked in optometry for over four years I was keen to develop my clinical skills by helping people in remote areas where optometry services are expensive and difficult to access.

“We are very lucky to live in a country where eye care is subsidised and readily available to those experiencing problems with their sight. I … really hope my expertise will help improve the vision and lives of others.”

In addition to supporting YWAM Medical Ships through the Specsavers Community Program, Specsavers Narellan has raised $6,245 for the Kids of Macarthur Health Foundation. The charity is raising funds to purchase paediatric medical equipment to enhance healthcare for local children being treated at the Campbelltown and Camden hospitals.

The store has also raised $8,000 for Specsavers’ national charity of choice, The Fred Hollows Foundation.

As part of the Specsavers Community Program, customers are given a token for each pair of glasses purchased. This token is used to indicate which charity they would like to support – either a local charity or The Fred Hollows Foundation – and a subsequent donation is made by the store.

Since the Specsavers Australia New Zealand Community Program was launched in 2013, more than $2.7 million has been raised and distributed to charitable causes in both countries.